Wednesday, September 6, 2006
Wow! In a word, that was our experience at the Experience Music Project in Seattle. And that was before we even saw the musical exhibits and interactive displays.
What wowed us from the outset was a limited time art display titled "Double Take", in which works by classic artists are paired with contemporary art pieces.
We saw the display this past weekend as a birthday treat for me from Joni's family.
I was excited to see these pieces of art history, including works by Van Gogh, Picasso and Monet. All part of Paul Allen's private art collection, it was their first time on public display in 50 years.
But the connections the curator made between paired works separated by centuries provided intriguing insights that made you want to linger.
Who knew that Picasso had a painting, done in the immediate aftermath of World War II, which was a fond look back at earlier and more peaceful times on the European continent.
The display was also a rare chance to check out the paintings up close. A chance to see that a seemingly pastoral work by Van Gogh actually shows uncertainty. And a bit of unease as well, judging by what appear to be gouge marks in the canvas.
Or take a water lily painting by Monet. Look closer at the serene scene and you see globs of paint seemingly thrown on the canvas. A helter skelter arrangement of brush strokes that form something bigger than itself when looking from a distance.
The paintings reminded me of a basic life lesson that I and probably most of you learned at a young age: Don't judge a book by its cover.
The paintings reminded me to look beyond the surface. That it's okay to do a double take, and take time to get better acquainted with each other, with our families, with our community.
That person who may seem to have it all together probably has experienced their share of gouge wounds, or has a glob or two out of place.
But you and I would never know that-and what their experiences can teach us-until we get to know them beyond a rushed hihowareyou.
After all, if it's possible to learn all this and more from getting acquainted with a dusty old painting, imagine what we can learn when we get to know each other better.